US deadline to sell TikTok extended to Nov 27

The Commerce Department said in a federal register notice it was holding off on enforcement on the ban. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US authorities have given the Chinese owner of TikTok two additional weeks to divest the social media sensation in order to resolve national security concerns voiced by President Donald Trump's administration, according to a court filing on Friday (Nov 13).

A notice filed by TikTok owner ByteDance in federal court showed that authorities had extended the deadline originally set for Nov 12 to Nov 27.

The Trump administration, which has claimed that the popular video-sharing app could be used for Chinese espionage, has threatened to ban TikTok unless it is sold to American investors. But the ban has been challenged in the courts.

The latest filing said the deadline set by the inter-governmental Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States had been extended, without elaboration.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department said it would delay implementation of Trump's policy to comply with a court order in TikTok's favour.

The Trump administration has been challenged over its decision in at least two US courts.

TikTok and its parent firm have filed suit in the capital, while TikTok "creators" have a separate case pending in a Pennsylvania court, which blocked the ban on Oct 30.

It was not until this week that US officials said they would not seek to enforce it, and the government at the same time said it was appealing the Pennsylavania order.

Trump and his aides have claimed that TikTok - which has some 100 million US users - can be used to collect data on Americans for Chinese espionage, a claim denied by the company.

The White House has said TikTok must become a US firm controlled by American investors to avert a ban.

But any plan would likely need approval from Beijing, which has balked at giving up control of its social media star.

China's commerce ministry published new rules in August that added "civilian use" to a list of the types of technology that are restricted for export, which could make it more difficult for ByteDance to sell TikTok, which features clips of everything from dance routines to politics.

A deal appeared to take shape earlier this year which would allow Silicon Valley giant Oracle to be the data partner for a newly incorporated TikTok, with Walmart joining as a commercial partner.

While Trump signaled his approval for the plan, it has not been finalised and the prospects remain unclear.

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